What BIAB brewing actually is (Mythbusting for traditionalists)

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Orval

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I've been looking for a beer wench. Haven't found the right one just yet.
Gotta find a woman be good to me
Won't hide my liquor, try to serve me tea.

still looking for?


winch (hoist)
winch.png
@Beermeister32

Herr Braumeister:" Wow... I’m sure you have a very nice winch! "
Vous faites les malins, je parie que vous maîtrisez plusieurs langues, parfais bilingue anglais/américain?
Moi je parle couramment français, ma langue maternelle, English, Deutsch, Nederlands et พูดภาษาไทยได้ด้วยครับ LOL
 
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madscientist451

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In the end, whatever method works best for you is all that matters.

FWIW, the discussion of wort clarity... whatever method works for you to achieve your desired clarity is all that matters. BIAB can provide just as clear as 3V.

My method is I recirc my BIAB during the mash so it's very clear but still squeeze the bag (after hanging and draining for a couple hours there is still a good pint or more inside). Also, after boil everything goes thru a 100-200 mircon bucket strainer so regardless if BIAB or 3V, the wort in the fermenter is very clear.
I got into homebrewing right around the time BIAB information was hitting the internet, and I remember asking experienced brewers why they don't use it. Answer: You won't get clear wort! You should learn how to brew the "right way" (heard here on HBT).
So after a decade or so, and starting BIAB, switching to 3 vessel, fly sparge, then batch sparge, and now downsizing to small batch BIAB, I'll go out on a limb and say wort clarity didn't make MY BEER any better. In addition, using a simple BIAB method gives me an opportunity to brew more often, try different beer styles and malt/hop combinations.
Your results may vary, so go ahead and brew any way you desire.
The clear wort/unclear wort issue has been discussed many times here on HBT.
In my experience, the important thing to consider is that there is a difference between cloudy wort and suspended kettle trub.
The research I've seen indicates that kettle trub can have a negative influence on beer flavor, however, does "unclear wort" that doesn't include kettle trub have the same issues? In my experience, unclear wort is OK, it might take a little longer to clear out though.
With small batch brewing, I can let my kettle sit outside in the cold, most of the particles drop to the bottom, and as carefully as I can, I dump the wort into the fermenter leaving most of the glop in the bottom of the kettle behind. The beer settles out after fermenting/conditioning and ends up clear.
If you're brewing a 10 gallon batch and using pumps, or If you don't want to wait for the wort in the kettle to settle by itself, or want to serve the beer as quickly as possible, that process probably isn't going to work for you.
Hobbies are supposed to be fun. I've decided that its fun for me to make brewing beer as simple as possible so I can have time to enjoy other things.
If using 3 vessel or using some other brewing system is what's fun for you, keep the brew going!
:mug:
 

bwible

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No need to scratch your head, what I'm calling a wash is a wash, if you read my posts here above, you may notice that I mention another hobby. The picture shows my fermenter with 70 litres of molasses wash!
By the way I know that Star San is a sanitizer, just not available down here! If you can mention other brands/methods, welcome!
cmac62 said: The concern I have with your plan is oxidation.
This is something I'm not aware of, hence my question about recirculating and the hose...

You seem to be criticizing my winch, none of your business if you don't mind. Small is beautiful? Just a matter of taste.
My target: 22 US gal batches...
Here: to illustrate my other hobby: View attachment 726392
One other note: If you are making 22 gallons of beer to reduce via your other hobby, you would not add any hops.
 

Orval

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One other note: If you are making 22 gallons of beer to reduce via your other hobby, you would not add any hops.
That's the other way round, I started my other hobby making some sugar (vodka-gin) and molasses (Rum) washes, but the intention is also to make some whisky, which is similar to brew beer up to the hops and the ingredients, but not the process. I'm Belgian, so above all a beer drinker, I live now in a country where beer is a bit questionable, or too bad, or too expensive, and so I came naturally to the conclusion, if you want to make all grain whisky, why don't you also make beer? Hitting two birds with one stone... At this stage, I'm buying some parts of equipment and gathering information. I'm ready to start making my own CFC, thanks to LBussy and al. Only one thing is clear, it'll be BIAB.
 

cajunrph

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I'm returning to brewing after a divorce-induced hiatus. I just about had my system down pat when that little legal issue kilt it all. Ohh well. My last brew was an all-grain brew with a DIY cooler mash tun complete with sparging apparatus built into the head. Fast forward to two moves and a garage full of crap I'll never use and I'm out of outside places to really brew.

My journey back to homemade alcohol started with mead. With the need to brew indoors I felt like a beer brew was too much. Three one-gallon batches of mead and two one-gallon batches of cider later and I still don't have anything to drink and probably won't for a month or longer. When I brewed before I didn't have many friends to help drink the beer so 5 gallons lasted a while. Also, I didn't keg till the last few batches. Now I don't have room for a keg setup. I was drawn to the small batches of Mead. I did buy a 3 gallon Fermonster to make mead in what is currently empty.

So I'm going to try a few 2.5 gallon BIAB batches. That should set off the 3v purist and the 5 gallon purist in one batch. I'm also going to use my Sous Vide as a way to control the Mash temp to 0.1 degree, just kidding I won't be that way about the mash, but I will use the Sous Vide to control the temps. I figure I'll use the stove burner to help get up to Mash temp, use the Sous Vide to maintain the temp, and then pull out the Sous Vide when I go to boil. I do have to figure out my wort cooling process. I have an imerson cooler in my attic, my attic in the overstuffed garage. Sense the hesitation in going up there? I may just make another one and buy a pump for it as my kitchen sink now is one of the types I can't attach a water hose to it. BIAB is the easiest way for me to get back into brewing. I am certain an AIO system is in my future. Sticking to 2.5-5 gallon batches and I won't have an issue pulling the bag out. I lift bro!!

As far as the discussion going on about the best way to brew. It wasn't Bobby's intent in starting the thread to say BIAB was the end all be all of brewing. The greater question would be is there an end all be all method of brewing. My answer to that is no. Brewing is as individualized as the number of beer types we can brew. We have the purist on one side who are driven by greater efficacy, hitting target OG, clear wort, and any of a number of other parameters. On the other end, we have the laissez-faire camp that just cares about brewing worth drinking and that they like. Clarity be damned. And most of us are in between. If it makes you happy to be in the first camp tweaking your system to get every last drop of productivity out of it then more power to you. If you don't give a rat's hind end about efficiency, don't care a bit about clarity, and just want good beer to drink, more power to you also. We aren't a brewery that must have repeatable results in our brews. Our livelihood doesn't depend on hitting the exact OG and FG in our brews. We are all hobby brewers. Some want to brew like the big breweries. Cool, have at it. Others don't care and have their system lined out to the point they can churn out brews in their sleep.

This discussion reminds me of some of the discussions going on in the bbq forums. On one camp the purist who demands everything is done on an offset smoker, running at 225 degrees, not 226 and not 224, 225 dammit, with real wood and take 18 hours to finish. Others show up with a Webber kettle or Ugly Drum Smoker, fire up a basket of Kingsford in the morning, and wax the offset smoker cookers. I'd bet that quite a few BIAB brewers can smoke many 3v system brewers in competition. And vice versa as well. 225 is often the holy grail of smoking temps. But in truth anything south of 275 works. Even north of there. Most important is the meat you are smoking. Same with brewing, the most important factor is the ingredients.

I'm type A personality enough at my work that I'm damn sure not going to sweat over minute details trying to get undetectable increases in my brewing systems efficiencies. If you wish to chase that tail, then do so. I don't intend to join a competition with my brews. I just want to have some variety of brews at my house for me and anyone else who might want to enjoy them. Life isn't about always continuous improvement. At some point you work your system out to where you enjoy the end result so much you have no need for improving it. Being content in life can lead to great happiness. As Charlie P would say, Relax, don't worry, and have a homebrew.
 

bwible

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Yeah man, no rules anymore. Don’t crush your grain, soak it in a bag for 20 min, who cares about temps, don’t recirculate, boil 10 min, throw all your hops in at the end of boil in one lump, make great beer! 🙄 Next we won’t sanitize anything either.
 

doug293cz

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Yeah man, no rules anymore. Don’t crush your grain, soak it in a bag for 20 min, who cares about temps, don’t recirculate, boil 10 min, throw all your hops in at the end of boil in one lump, make great beer! 🙄 Next we won’t sanitize anything either.
Where'd that rant come from? No one in this thread has advocated any of that. Got anything relevant to say?

Brew on :mug:
 

cajunrph

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Yeah man, no rules anymore. Don’t crush your grain, soak it in a bag for 20 min, who cares about temps, don’t recirculate, boil 10 min, throw all your hops in at the end of boil in one lump, make great beer! 🙄 Next we won’t sanitize anything either.
I said nothing of the sort. We are discussing mash methods. Do you have anything positive to offer or just ludicrous assumptions?
 

CascadesBrewer

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If you don't give a rat's hind end about efficiency, don't care a bit about clarity, and just want good beer to drink, more power to you also. We aren't a brewery that must have repeatable results in our brews. Our livelihood doesn't depend on hitting the exact OG and FG in our brews.
I think I get what you are saying, but also think you can be a BIAB brewer that, while not chasing efficiency and not caring about crystal clear wort, also strives to brew excellent beer and obsesses over repeatable results. At least I do. For me, continuous improvement is at the core of why I brew.

Maybe it was not indented, but I get that common vibe. That BIAB is some entry-level step for people that are not ready for "real" all-grain brewing. That BIAB is fine if you just want to brew something that has alcohol. While my 3-vessel system was not very fancy, I am very happy that I moved to BIAB. I am brewing better beer now than I ever did. While I don't credit much of that quality directly to BIAB, BIAB produces the same quality of wort and gets me motivated to brew more often. The exact same process that I use for 5-gallon batches scales wonderfully to 2.5-gallon and 1-gallon batches.

But welcome back to the hobby! Hopefully you will find a system and process that fits you. I am a huge fan of 2.5-gallon batches. The electric all-in-one systems seem excellent. One of these days I will probably impulse buy one of the Anvil Foundry 6.5 gallon systems.
 

madscientist451

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While my 3-vessel system was not very fancy, I am very happy that I moved to BIAB. I am brewing better beer now than I ever did.
Yeah, I ditched the mash tun and fly sparging and my BIAB beer is just fine. No shiny SS "system" to show off in my garage, but I do have some kegs of beer to drink and share and that's all I really care about.
 

cajunrph

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I think I get what you are saying, but also think you can be a BIAB brewer that, while not chasing efficiency and not caring about crystal clear wort, also strives to brew excellent beer and obsesses over repeatable results. At least I do. For me, continuous improvement is at the core of why I brew.

Maybe it was not indented, but I get that common vibe. That BIAB is some entry-level step for people that are not ready for "real" all-grain brewing. That BIAB is fine if you just want to brew something that has alcohol. While my 3-vessel system was not very fancy, I am very happy that I moved to BIAB. I am brewing better beer now than I ever did. While I don't credit much of that quality directly to BIAB, BIAB produces the same quality of wort and gets me motivated to brew more often. The exact same process that I use for 5-gallon batches scales wonderfully to 2.5-gallon and 1-gallon batches.

But welcome back to the hobby! Hopefully you will find a system and process that fits you. I am a huge fan of 2.5-gallon batches. The electric all-in-one systems seem excellent. One of these days I will probably impulse buy one of the Anvil Foundry 6.5 gallon systems.
I think BIAB system of some sort will suit most brewers just fine. What I'm mostly concerned with is brewing quality beer. I don't think I ever brewed the same beer twice when I was brewing before. But if one IPA comes off slightly different than another, I'll still drink them both. Part of the homebrewing experience is variety. I have no doubt there's BIAB brewers out there who can produce beer superior to most 3V brewers. And the opposite is also true. There's 3v brewers who can out brew most BIAB brewers. I'm not saying BIAB is inferior to 3V brewing and neither will someone brew superior beer just because they have a 3v system. It's the brewer more than the system. The 3v guys remind me of the offset smoker guys in the BBQ world. Thinking their system is the way. Then a fella with a beat up Webber Smokey Mountain wins the competition.

I'm sure I'll be quite content with BIAB. It's the obsession with repeatability part I don't get. Maybe I've mellowed over the years. Too many years in the rat race may have jaded me. Continously improvement to a point I get. But not for repeatability in the sense of batch 1 IPA is exactly the same as batch 4 IPA. I'd like them to improve over time. Continous improvement is a slippery slope. I'm in this for fun. I have to be laser focused at work 6 days a week. My little time off I'm going to take it easier, while still producing beer better than most sold at the supermarket.

What I'm saying is brew the way you want to brew. Have fun brewing the way you want to. If it's chasing efficiency to the nth degree, then chase away. It it's nailing an IPA exactly the same 5 brews in a row, more power to you. If it's getting a wort from the mash tun so clear you can see the tv through it, go right ahead. If it's simply brewing the best beer you've ever had, in a system that allows you to brew as often as you'd like, in a quantity that you want, under the budget you've set that puts a smile on your face, then brew away. Please don't dis someone else's system because you think your's is better or you can do it better. If they like their beer, even after tasting some of your's, then all is good.
 
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Murph4231

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Wow, I read through this thread to learn about BIAB processes. I too am returning to brewing after a lengthy absence from the hobby. To me the key is, it's a hobby. Brew the way you want to brew. To each his own.

Now with that said, I'm still interested in learning more about the BIAB process. I faded away from brewing 20 yrs ago. I am a 3v brewer. Have been since the early 90s. Never heard of BIAB until returning to brewing a year ago. Having never witnessed anyone brew in a bag, I don't get it. Is the bag simply used to remove the spent grain from the mash tun? That would make sense but there must be more to it. What is the purpose of using a bag?
 

cajunrph

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Wow, I read through this thread to learn about BIAB processes. I too am returning to brewing after a lengthy absence from the hobby. To me the key is, it's a hobby. Brew the way you want to brew. To each his own.

Now with that said, I'm still interested in learning more about the BIAB process. I faded away from brewing 20 yrs ago. I am a 3v brewer. Have been since the early 90s. Never heard of BIAB until returning to brewing a year ago. Having never witnessed anyone brew in a bag, I don't get it. Is the bag simply used to remove the spent grain from the mash tun? That would make sense but there must be more to it. What is the purpose of using a bag?
Check the second sticky in the BIAB section of the forum. He explains the process. Basically you use the brew kettle as a mash tun setting strike temp and maintaining mash temps. The grains are all in the bag that you remove after you're done with the mash and then you crank up the heat to boil the wort.

 

DBhomebrew

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Wow, I read through this thread to learn about BIAB processes. I too am returning to brewing after a lengthy absence from the hobby. To me the key is, it's a hobby. Brew the way you want to brew. To each his own.

Now with that said, I'm still interested in learning more about the BIAB process. I faded away from brewing 20 yrs ago. I am a 3v brewer. Have been since the early 90s. Never heard of BIAB until returning to brewing a year ago. Having never witnessed anyone brew in a bag, I don't get it. Is the bag simply used to remove the spent grain from the mash tun? That would make sense but there must be more to it. What is the purpose of using a bag?
This was yesterday's brew day. BIAB with a single dunk (batch) sparge.

 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Now with that said, I'm still interested in learning more about the BIAB process. I faded away from brewing 20 yrs ago.
Easy Partial Mash Brewing (with pics) may also be of interest. It has some good info on how to do a 2.5 gal-ish stove top mash. If one were to skip the DME addition & "top up" water, it would be 2.5 gal all-grain BIAB batches.
 

dirkomatic

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Two brews ago, I did my first BIAB. While the beer was fine, I went back to my old process for one reason only. I still brew outside on propane and lifting the grain was less pleasant than pumping wort around. The concept does appeal to me, but I'll have to invest/change over to electric and find some room which I currently don't have in my basement in order to compensate for the haul system and power requirements.

On Friday, I'm doing a BIAB batch with my brother-in-law. We'll be in his garage, so we can probably rig up something overhead...
 

dirkomatic

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If its a 5 gallon batch lifting the grain bag is not that big of a deal.I lift mine up and set it on a wire rack across the brew kettle to drain.Simple and easy and takes about 1 minute of active effort.
That's a good idea. I'll find a wire rack we can use.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Now with that said, I'm still interested in learning more about the BIAB process.
There are lots of variation on BIAB...small batch vs 5-gallon+ batches, full volume mash vs sparge, bag vs basket, insulated mash vs mash temp control, electric vs propane, recirculating vs static, etc. I have gravitated toward simplicity with full volume mashing, insulating my mash with a sleeping bag, limited squeezing of the grain bag, etc.

When I was first moving to BIAB, I found this video to be pretty useful:

Here is a video of my 5-gallon batch brew day:
 

renstyle

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@cajunrph Glad you are able to get back into brewing.

Brew what you like, drink what you like. Have fun!

Someday I'd like to have a 3v rig in the garage, much the same way as I have a turntable, carver amp, and twin Cerwin-Vega AT15z inside for when I wanna chill... with a homebrew!

No bluetooth, no radio, no MP3, no 7.2 THX amaze-balls theatre setup.

Just old school audio, it's how <I> like it...

Brewing is just like that for me. I enjoy the time. I hope you will too as you continue your journey.

Cheers!
 

cajunrph

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@renstyle You get what I'm saying. We'd all love to have the latest and greatest equipment. I'd throw in a few 1950 Fender Telecasters, an authentic Les Paul Gibson, and a 1950 Vincent Black Shadow while I'm at it. Haha. For the vast majority of us, we can brew almost the same beers in a BIAB system as we can in a 3v system with all the bells and whistles. Some like messing with the bells and whistles, and have the space and monetary requirements of a 3v system. Others either lack the funds, space, or the patience to deal with a 3v system and chose a different system. If they pick BIAB it doesn't make them bad people. If they choose 3v it doesn't make them bad people either. Enjoy how you brew and what you brew. Improve the process if you wish, or keep on the same way. BIAB is 99.9% as good as any 3v for most of us. Brew as you wish with the resources you have.
 

MaxStout

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Easy Partial Mash Brewing (with pics) may also be of interest. It has some good info on how to do a 2.5 gal-ish stove top mash. If one were to skip the DME addition & "top up" water, it would be 2.5 gal all-grain BIAB batches.
That thread by @DeathBrewer is what got me started in BIAB. I had been doing extract batches for less than a year, but was ready to step up. I tried his method, doing 1 PM batch. Then I asked myself why I don't just go full BIAB, and have been doing that for about 8 years.
 
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Orval

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Others either lack the funds, space, or the patience to deal with a 3v system and chose a different system. If they pick BIAB it doesn't make them bad people.
That's exactly what I have in mind, KISS! When I see some 3v settings, the first thing that comes to my mind is:” there must be a brew material seller sponsoring this…” It’s like an arms race!

Indeed, I’m impressed by some of those 3v settings, but there’s a difference between a hobby and a semi-pro activity.

I came to the BIAB idea without even being aware of it, just because I’m already running some wash fermentations and came to the conclusion that between beer and whisky, there’s almost no difference, except that there’s no hop, and there are for sure different yeasts and malts in both cases.

To keep both investment and operations to a minimum, I automatically came to that solution, using equipment I already have for my other hobby. I had to buy a pump and some camlocks though, due to the size of my mash kettle. So far, I made 70-litre wash, with the fermenter on my balcony. After fermentation, racking from the fermenter to PET 25-litre carboys by gravity, then after two or three days, pouring the wash into the still boiler. This is something I cannot do with a beer wort; risk of oxidation and contamination is too high… I’m still in the assembly phase, next step is welding my hoist to lift the basket containing the bag (SS 304 basket Ø 45cm x H 45 cm +/- 71 litres or +/- US gal. 19), the SS 304 brew kettle (above mentioned still boiler) itself is Ø 50 cm x H 50 cm +/- 98 litres or +/- US gal. 26). I’m waiting for some fittings to make my CF chiller…
 

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I usually bring the mash up to right about an inch above the temp probe, usually comes in to around 3-1/2 gallons for mash amounts at 9-14 lbs grist typically.

For sparge, I usually lift the bags and place in a colander, and rinse with the remaining 3-1/2 - 4 gallons of sparge water over the kettle. I've also sparged in a separate bucket and rinse out the bags in the sparge water, I'm tending more toward the latter, seems more efficient. I use a cool water sparge and typically treat the mash and rinse water with yeast and some dextrose to lower O2 as much as possible. I then return all 7 gallons to the kettle to provide a finished 6 gallons to the kettle after the boil. This allows me to transfer off about 5.25 gallons clear wort to the carboy. The rest of the final murk, trub and sludge I transfer off to a 1 gallon glass jug to ferment separately for experiments or weird beer drinking.
 

charlesbrewer

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I usually bring the mash up to right about an inch above the temp probe, usually comes in to around 3-1/2 gallons for mash amounts at 9-14 lbs grist typically.

For sparge, I usually lift the bags and place in a colander, and rinse with the remaining 3-1/2 - 4 gallons of sparge water over the kettle. I've also sparged in a separate bucket and rinse out the bags in the sparge water, I'm tending more toward the latter, seems more efficient. I use a cool water sparge and typically treat the mash and rinse water with yeast and some dextrose to lower O2 as much as possible. I then return all 7 gallons to the kettle to provide a finished 6 gallons to the kettle after the boil. This allows me to transfer off about 5.25 gallons clear wort to the carboy. The rest of the final murk, trub and sludge I transfer off to a 1 gallon glass jug to ferment separately for experiments or weird beer drinking.
Guess we end up the same solution. Did once for a 40L batch. The first time almost broke my back!
 

renstyle

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My biggest $ buy in my home brew career was a 6.5 Anvil kettle.

Next was an $80 cereal killer grain mill. Pretty much everything else was small potatoes investment wise.

I use a $20 round cooler for MAIB tho, only hardware I swapped in was a SS bulkhead and valve. No false bottom, or manifold, just a dollar bungee for the brew bag.

Fermenting in kegs limits my batch volume, which is perfectly fine by me for the additional options it gives me (spunding!)

I also have the distinct advantage of a 12 y.o. who is all about squeezing the bag! Good times with him and me on brew days.
 

odie

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I pumped the wort out of my BIAB mash tun today into another kettle before pulling the basket. After the wort dropped below the level of the ball valve and pump, I lifted the basket and let it drain into a bucket.

The wort under the basket was close to a gallon in volume. I poured it over a 75 micron filter and it produced 3 piles of this type of grain silt (pictured). In other words, I loaded and cleared the filter three times. This was a 2.x gallon batch with 3 kg / 6.6 lbs of grain.

The wort in the tun - which I failed to photograph - looked much worse, having large clumps of this murky stuff floating around. It looks more tame when trapped by the filter.

View attachment 712765

What's notable is that if I did what I was supposed to and just lifted and drained the basket, then proceeded to boil in place, I wouldn't even know this stuff was down there.
I use these same bucket strainers. But I use it after the boil, not for the mash. I don't care about clarity or trub during the mash or boil. After boil and letting everything in the kettle settle out, all the wort goes thru that bucket strainer and the wort into my fermenter is extremely clean/clear. After all the wort from the kettle passes thru it, I will dump all the kettle trub into the strainer and get a few more pints of clear wort.
 

mklatsky

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I'll add my 2cents here. I started with a 3v system that worked just fine. My brew days (including cleaning and putting everything away) ran around 5-5 1/2 hours (I have to haul everything from a shed to my deck for brewing). I switched to BIAB and my brewday moved to 3 1/2 hours as there is less equipment, less time in moving wort. I literally lift the bag, drain and flame-on. The beer came out just as good. My efficiency was within a couple of percentage points either way. My bottom line is that 3v, BIAB, etc are each true all-grain brewing systems. They are just different equipment groupings which use grain to produce that thing we all want- beer.
 
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